Beer Review – The Alchemist Brewery Heady Topper Double IPA

The interwebz can be a virtual minefield if you’re not careful. Phishing, spambots, identity theft, and computer viruses galore are out there, waiting for you to make one wrong click, or divulge a bit of personal information that has the potential to make your life a living hell as you try to fix your careless mistakes. This is the stuff that headlines are made of, and it scares the bejaysus out of many people. But this is an eating and drinking blog, so we won’t be covering any of those dangers in this post. Instead, I will speak of the joys of social media (in this case Twitter), and how it helped us get the ungettable, i.e. a four pack of The Alchemist Brewery’s rare and tough to find Heady Topper Double IPA.

Back on August 12th, Megan Moore (@megsbeerslave and @evolutionmeg on Twitter) announced via Twitter that she brought back a plethora of Heady Topper from Vermont, and asked if anyone would like a four pack. Our good friend and intrepid beer hunter,  The Alemonger, jumped on the chance to get this beer and immediately tweeted her back. He then proceeded to send me the following text:

Interested in splitting a 4 pk of Heady Topper? @megsbeerslave offered one to me for $15. She’s in Philly so you’d play bagman like you did with @beerlass.

Since I too was curious about this beer, I of course agreed to the deal. After a few messages back and forth with Megan, we decided to meet in Philly on the following Thursday at 3PM.

As promised, Megan arrived on time with a four pack of the elusive Heady Topper. Since Megan is now the Pennsylvania beer rep for Evolution Craft Brewing Company, she also gave me two bottles of Evolution’s IPA (stay tuned for an upcoming review).

Would this transaction have happened if it weren’t for the power of the interwebz? Somehow, I seriously doubt it. Yes, the internet can be a dangerous place, but it’s also become a fantastic way for people with similar interests to get together and share their enthusiasms.

Now that you know how this ungettable became gettable, let’s find out a bit more about The Alchemist Brewery’s Heady Topper. Here is what the brewer has to say about this beer:

Click the pic for a bigger and easier to read version.

Since Limpd volunteered to help me out with this review, you will once again be subjected to two reviews in one post. Brace yourself!

Limpd’s Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Cloudy orange/apricot color. Moderate foam. Good lacing.
  • Aroma: Grapefruity hop aromas. Why does my beer smell like it just came back from a run? There’s a hint of BO smell. Or maybe G-LO didn’t clean the glass properly.
  • Taste: Very light mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Sweet citrus with lots of bitter, hoppy notes. Tart grapefruit finish.

Verdict: A very refreshing summer beer that hides its 8% ABV really well. Definitely not a session beer. Would pair well fish, poultry, and berry fruits.

G-LO’s Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Cloudy, pale orange color. Very little head. A thin bead of foam forms a ring around the outer edge.
  • Aroma: Oodles of grapefruit scented hops! I too smell some funk. It reminds me of my cycling jersey after a long ride (the ones I didn’t get to take this summer which makes me very sad), i.e. Arm and Hammer Unscented Deodorant (my brand of choice) and sweat.
  • Taste: Lots of fizzy carbonation. Not as hopped up as I would have thought, yet much more crisp and refreshing than I expected. A hint of sugar cane sweetness, mixed with some hop astringency, and a tart, lemony finish.

Verdict: This is one of the most unusual Double IPAs that I have ever had. Very crisp and refreshing, but also quite sneaky given it’s high ABV, i.e. it goes down way too easy. I don’t know what the funky smells were all about, but they definitely didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this beer. Overall, Heady Topper was a great beer that I am happy to have finally tried.


If you’d like to read some other opinions about this beer, here are two more reviews for you:

Have you had the Heady Topper? If so, let us know what you think about this beer in the comments below.

Thanks again to The Alemonger and Megan Moore for making this Craft Beer acquisition possible!

5 replies »

  1. A funny thing happened on the way to my unusually swift completion of the morning’s “clear or die” deadline list at work……

    I saw my craft beer-centric pseudonym used in connection with some medieval chemist’s rant (as a former member of my high school’s advanced chemistry team I take these sorts of things very seriously). Then I actually read the alarming tweet and realized it was something far less outrageous.

    In the interest of full disclosure (recognizing that either 60 Minutes, Good Morning America or a yet to be titled remake of Japan’s original Most Extreme Elimination Challenge would likely do a feature on the Heady Topper Connection), I feel it necessary to correct (ever so slightly) the record:

    Meg didn’t actually offer any of her VT craft beer bounty (including Heady Topper). She tweeted that she had just returned from VT and I, jokingly, asked how much Heady Topper she brought back with her. In all honesty, I wasn’t looking – or even hoping – to have a chance to try some. I just figured, ‘good for her.’ About 5 minutes later she sent me a DM letting me know she’s be happy to part with a 4 pack and offered one to me. The rest is Philly craft beer geek/peep history.

    Cheers to Megan for being so generous and for being brave enough to risk an encounter with a reasonably total stranger do do the deal!

    Oh, and as for the beer…..

    I haven’t had it yet (thanks to an even more generous craft beer blogger who dropped of a fantastic quartet of small batch Maine craft beers that demand (ever so subtly) to be enjoyed fresh…..


    • Rational, reasonably concise and still entertaining. The Monger must be back on his meds (or at the very least pumped full of quality Maine crafties – the collaboration was fantastic). Thanks for needing a bagman and immediately thinking of G-Lo. I once again got to share in quality craft beer swag.


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